February 1 2016

What Is Normal Christianity?

ChristianityAs a pagan I had many preconceived notions about what Christianity was or what it meant to be a Christian. I didn’t believe in Jesus Christ, and honestly He was never a thought in my mind. Jesus Christ was a swear word to me. Outside of that He was either a mythical figure or a historical figure. The guy with the long hair and white robes. I had nothing but disdain for Christians for as long as I can remember. Unfortunately part of that I was taught at the Mormon Church as a child. They do not hold the same beliefs as Christians, and I was taught away from the Truth of the Gospel message. I didn’t realize this though, being just a child, so I never questioned why I hated Christians.

As far as I was always concerned, Christians were a bunch of perfect people with no problems. At the same time I also thought Christianity was filled with hypocrites who thought they were better than everyone else and looked down on everyone from the pedestals they stood on. Admittedly there are people like that, but not all of them are Christians. As a pagan, I didn’t see it that way. I just hated Christianity and everything it stood for. Funny thing is, I didn’t actually know what Christianity was all about. I assumed it was about following rules and a God that was far away and judgmental, waiting to send you to hell. Another belief instilled by the Mormon Church. It wasn’t until I read the Bible for myself and encountered Jesus Christ, that I realize how very wrong I was all my life.

There is nothing perfect about Christianity. There is not perfect formula for getting saved and living a perfect life, free of problems. The only thing perfect in Christianity is Jesus Christ, perfect and sinless because He is God. Outside of that, we are all broken people, living in a very broken world. We are all hurting and lost in some way or another. We are all searching for the Truth and ultimately for perfect love, that only comes from God. There is not one certain way to be or act. We are all doing the best we can with what we know.

For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.

Hebrews 10:14

I have pondered the question many times, what does it really mean to be a Christian? Do any Christians really follow Jesus? Is the life of a true Christian, as modeled by the Bible even possible? It seems to me even now, in the midst of Christianity, that no one is even doing this walk right. No one is following Jesus with full surrender and abandon. Christianity is filled with paganism in every facet, and other Christians tear each other from limb to limb, using the very scripture we hold so dear. We sin, yet judge others for their sin. We go to church like it’s a social club. We do life like everyone else in the world, just going to work and taking care of our families. There is nothing special or out of the ordinary about us.

So what exactly is normal Christianity? Is it someone who strives to be as Christ like as possible, loving everyone completely, feeding the poor and devoting their time to ministry? Is Christianity about striving for a sinless life and being on a constant spiritual high? No. This is not what normal Christianity is. This is what we imagine we should be as Christians. This is what the world thinks Christianity should look like. This is not anywhere near the norm, for any of us.

I believed for a while that when I became Christian I was going to be perfect. I kept waiting for it to happen, and it didn’t. The Holy Spirit continued to convict me of things about myself and in my life that needed to be changed. I kept feeling better about myself as I made those changes, and I kept looking down on the other Christians around me. Why was I getting more Christ like while everyone around me had plateaued back in high school? No one was moving closer to Jesus, but instead staying where it was comfortable. Meanwhile I saw examples of other Christians who were out there healing the sick and casting out demons and praying the fire of God down on people so they could encounter the presence of the Holy Spirit. They were walking in selfless love and what I saw closely resembled the disciples and apostles in the Bible, rather than your average Joe.

So Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.

Hebrews 9:28

What I didn’t understand is I was not seeing the whole picture of any one individual. The Christians who were stagnant were not wrong for staying where it was comfortable and the Christians who were out praying for the sick were not right because they were doing something extra ordinary. There is no right and wrong when it comes to Christianity. There is no set of rules on what Christianity needs to look like or feel like. God is much bigger than all the ideas that we could ever come up with, to limit Him and Christianity to a set of rules or behaviors or standards. Yet that is what I thoroughly believed in my walk into Christianity.

When we start to view Christianity through this strict confines, we are turning it into a religion instead of a relationship. Christianity started out very simply – a group of men and women who knew Jesus and spent their days with Him. They talked to Him, they told them their hopes and fears, they shared lives together. They broke bread together, traveled together, and they learned to trust Jesus with all their hearts. They learned to see that Jesus loved them unconditionally and that through them they could experience life with a new freedom they never knew was possible. Because of that they were willing to abandon what they had known and live unconventionally. Yet they never became perfect.

They argued, vied for the affections of Jesus, were competitive with each other for prominence, denied Jesus as God and even ran away when things got hard. That is just a small list of the mistakes the disciples made. They were only human – broken in a very broken world that has been ruled by the evil one, the devil. Jesus did not come here to start a religion or have us follow rules or standards. That was what the Pharisees were doing. No. Jesus came to love us, to heal our brokenness, to free us from the captivity that the devil has ensnared us in, and to show us that to Him, we are very worthy. God loves us so very much, enough that He would sacrifice everything for us. He did not give us the Bible as a set of rules to follow, but as a living testimony of His love!!

Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!”Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

Matthew 16:22-23

The devil would love for us to turn Christianity into a religion. We have done a very good job with his help. We take up all the shame and fear and need for approval and turn our relationship with our Creator into great works to get us into heaven. That is one thing that is supposed to separate Christianity from all other religions. Every other religion ever is based on working your way into heaven, without any real relationship with the god figure. Only Christianity offers redemption through a relationship with a perfect and holy God. How can you beat that kind of gift? You don’t have to do anything, other than believe and have a relationship with Jesus? Amazing and simple! So why do we make it so complicated?

Are people just inherently complicated? I don’t believe so. I think that the world would have us believe that things are much more complicated than they are. And the world is owned by the devil. This is his domain, in which he is the prince of. The Bible makes that clear. The devil only has a few goals for us – steal us away from God, kill our souls so we go to hell, and destroy all of our hope. If he can do that, he has found success. Yes he wants us to die, but what better than to send us to hell to rot with him for all eternity? True hell is the absence of God. I should know, because I was there for most of my life.

So again, what is normal Christianity? Normal Christianity is someone who loves Jesus with all their heart. They are not perfect, but completely broken. They may be in denial that they are broken, or they may be in full surrender to God in their brokenness. Normal Christians are walking through life trying to do the best they can with what they have. They try the best they can to give their lives to God, but fail more often than not. They have good intentions and try to love others and give selflessly. Yet they fail often and feel disappointed or ashamed. They may grow spiritually in leaps or bounds, or may not grow at all preferring to stay where they think they are safe. There is always two things that are underlying our motives in life and how we behave and relate. 1) Our relationship with our Creator God, and 2) The pain and brokenness we have experienced through our lives. This is what shapes a normal Christian. This is what shapes every human being.

Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”

Galatians 4:6

jesus loveIf you have been beating yourself up because you don’t think you are a good Christian, or maybe not even a real Christian; or maybe you think God is angry at you; then I am telling you right now to stop. You are listening to the lies of the devil. He wants you to feel bad about yourself and to believe God is disappointed in you. He is not. He loves you, right here, right now, no matter what. You are good enough for God, imperfection and all. Whether or not you are stuck in sin, or feel far away from God, you are doing the best you can with what you know. It is OK. You just have to keep going, one step at a time, to move closer to God and closer to finding the healing He has for you. We are never going to have a perfect, sinless life, or be just like Jesus. We were not meant to be. We are meant to be His children and to be loved by God, and love Him back. Everything outside of that is just part of the details and circumstances of your life.

You are the Jewish man who was beaten and left to die by robbers. Jesus is the Good Samaritan. He is the one who you least expected to come rescue you, and saw the value in you. Jesus is the one who saw you broken and bandaged your wounds. Jesus is the one who cared enough to stop everything He was doing, and take you in so you could live.

It is time for you to come out of the darkness, brothers and sisters. It is time to stop hiding behind the lies that you need to be OK all the time, or that everyone needs to live up to some godly standards that are impossible. Let down your guard as you hide behind walls of fear and pain and move closer to the God who loves you with a never ending love. Let Jesus renew and strengthen you as you just sit quietly with Him. Believe He is right there, even if you can’t feel it. He is. Forever. You are His. He will never let you go. That is what normal Christianity is. It’s time to embrace it.

For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. 2 Timothy 4:6-8

December 14 2015

Witchcraft In Mainstream Media

witchcraftIn my pre-Christian life, I had a fascination with witchcraft and vampires and horror for a long time. I remember being a teen and loving the Dracula movie and the Vampire Lestat books. Witchcraft seemed so romantic and exciting! I often fantasized about meeting a vampire and living forever or becoming a witch. A life of witchcraft and romance sounded amazing, and from the books and movies I saw, it was. This fascination never left me, and even as an adult, the shows on my DVR were shows like The Walking Dead, The Vampire Diaries and The Following (about a serial killer). I loved these shows and they were the highlight of my week. It wasn’t just TV shows that filled my life, but a general fascination with witchcraft, fantasy and darkness. Our culture has a never-ending stream of shows, movies, books, etc to feed these kind of fantasy worlds. It starts with our children. Disney is a huge proponent of magic, but their magic is safe and innocent because it’s a cartoon. I mean, who doesn’t love Disney? They have been number one for kids movies since they began making movies for kids. And almost every single Disney movie has witchcraft of one form or another in it.

We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.

1 John 5:19

It’s not just Disney that brings witchcraft into our children’s lives. Harry Potter, Monster High, Pokemon, My Little Pony, Every Witch Way, Adventure Time, Percy Jackson, and Mike the Knight are just a few of the programs that is popular right now for kids. These shows all openly have witchcraft in them as a normal part of life. I know I have always had shows about witchraft to watch through the years: Charmed, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Game of Thrones, True Blood to name just a few. I never thought much about watching these kinds of shows or letting my kids watch them before I became Christian. After all, I was a witch for a season in my life, and I was pulled in to the lies of  the new age movement and the occult. Magic is good, fun, enchanting and exciting. Who isn’t attracted to it? Witchcraft opens up new worlds to us and new possibilities. Yet when I became a Christian I began to see the world in a whole new way. The veil had been lifted from before my eyes, and the evil hidden in all the world that we see as normal, became exposed for what it was.

It didn’t take long for me to feel very wrong about watching these shows, and let me kids watch them also. Once the Holy Spirit invaded my soul, everything changed for me. I could not watch my favorite show about vampires that I had been following for years without feeling very wrong. I did try quite a few times, but I knew in my spirit that it was wrong and displeased God. Yet everywhere I would go, Christians loved Harry Potter and other shows with drugs, murder and sexual immorality. Honestly that was one thing that baffled me completely. I had lived in the world for so long, and here I was removing myself from it many of the Christians around me were completely immersed in it.

And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.

2 Corinthians 11:13

It was a process to really understand how much witchcraft I was letting into my home. It took even longer to realize how much witchcraft I was bringing in just with Disney alone. We bought Frozen and Brave and watched them half a dozen times, not even thinking about the fact that the whole premise of these movies was about spells being cast on people and the effects of the magic, (usually harmful). It was visually pleasing, we were drawn into the characters and the plot was suspenseful and moving. The witchcraft just sneaked right past me! I know a lot of people don’t think that this type of magic is relevant to witchcraft and the occult. After all it doesn’t look real and it doesn’t seem to be based on reality. It’s just fantasy and entertainment and therefore should not be a problem. That is why it is so deceptive! We are not carefully guarding our hearts and minds, but instead just exposing them to whatever the world throws at us. The more we see other Christians watching Harry Potter or Frozen, the more we feel that it must be OK. Witchcraft becomes normal and acceptable, and just innocent magic that is for fun.

Satan will always be there tempting us with something pleasing and delicious, just as he was in the Garden of Eden. He did not tempt them with something awful that would be easy to detect as evil, but instead with something forbidden and alluring. “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” The next thing you know, Eve was questioning what God had told her, and giving in to that sweet moment of satisfaction. She could have never known that by eating that fruit she would cause her own death, as well as every generation under her. If she could have foreseen how fatal this decision would have been, she would surely have not done it. And it is the same way for us now. Satan is holding out shows and movies full of all sorts of witchcraft, sexual perversion, murder, and the like to our us and our children and asking us “Did God really say not to have anything to do with witchcraft? Surely he did not mean this magic. It is harmless fun!” And we bite into the apple, believing the lies once again.

Magic is a term often used by witches when describing spells they cast. Magic is indeed the same thing as witchcraft. All magic is witchcraft. What exactly is witchcraft? Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary describes witchcraft as the use of magic or sorcery. Witchcraft includes, but is not limited to: harnessing the power of demons to effect change in people, or to gain material possessions; gaining power or wealth; gaining knowledge; reaching or accessing higher levels of consciousness; achieving powers to become like God; hurting other people or hurting animals; getting revenge; spying; protection; and much more.

There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, one who uses divination, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who casts a spell, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead.

Deuteronomy 18:10-11

All magic is of Satan, no matter which way you slice it. Whether it is a witch in a Disney movie, a character in a Harry Potter story, a cute teen witch or a sexy vampire, it is all of the devil. I know that can be a hard pill to swallow! Believe me, I fed myself on this stuff and much, much more for many years. God does not do magic or make magic. No matter how cute or innocent or fun or sexy the character wielding the magic is, it does not make the magic innocent or unreal. It is a portal into your home for the demonic to enter. It is a subliminal message in your mind that magic is good and right. It is letting in the lie that God did not say it was wrong. It is dangerous.

The things that we expose ourselves to on a daily basis are defining and shaping factors of who we are. Even more so for our children, who are so young and impressionable. If we spend more time filling up on the ways of the world, instead of God’s Word, that is how we start to shape the way we think and see things around us. We begin to forget the Truths of the Bible as we feed ourselves the lies of the world. We must be diligent to hold fast to what is good and right and true, according to the Word of God. Even when it is hard, and even when it means being set apart from those around us. I know how hard it is to be set apart and feel different. Yet I am willing to go down the narrow path in order to be closer to my Lord Jesus. What I have found in Him is worth more than anything in this world I have ever had. I have seen and done many things seeking pleasure and entertainment, but none has been as satisfying, as wonderful and as delightful as God Himself.

Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Psalm 34:7

childGod does not look down on you for exposing your children to Disney movies or for watching Harry Potter. He does not hate you because you have let witchcraft into your home inadvertently. It is a work in progress as you learn to navigate the world and all the illusions it throws at us daily. But once you are exposed to the truth, you are responsible to take ownership of the decisions you are making. Don’t let the devil continue to have a foothold in your home and teach your children what he values in this world. Do not be conformed to the world, but test everything instead, to see if it is of God. God didn’t tell us not to participate in witchcraft because He wants to steal our fun, but because He cares about us and He knows the hidden danger in magic. The Bible has story after story of His children who became lost into a world of witchcraft, because they were led astray by other cultures and religions of the day. That is why He is so adamant in His warnings on witchcraft.

See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.

Colossians 2:8

Pray for God to give you insight and wisdom into witchcraft you have let into your home without realizing it. Repent and ask Him to forgive you for allowing witchcraft into your home, and then be willing to give Jesus access to bring healing and restoration into your home and your relationship with Him. Allow Him to show you what He wants you to remove from your home and why. He loves you so dearly and only wants the very best for you. Jesus died for each one of you, so that you could experience freedom by His blood. You can experience so much more than what you have been, if you tear down the strongholds in your life and bring them before the Lord Jesus Christ.

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1

November 9 2015

Is The Bible A Book Of Rules?

BibleWhen I first became Christian about 2.5 years ago I started reading the Bible right away. I have to admit my husband and I didn’t go about it quite the right way. Once we started going to church  it took time for God to start helping us make positive changes in our lives. One of those changes that was yet to be made was our addiction to smoking pot. So the first time we actually sat down to read the Bible we were high on pot and tried reading the KJV. As you can imagine it made very little sense to us at that moment. Yet we did not give up! We sat there for about an hour trying to read and make sense of the first chapter of Genesis. We deeply wanted to know what God had to say! We were just still bound to sin and death and had yet to experience freedom from drug addiction. God is much bigger than even that, and He can touch anyone, no matter where they are or what they are doing!

While we did smoke pot, it was not a daily thing for us anymore. So it was not a normal hindrance between us and the Word of God. A friend recommended to me to read a different version of the Bible, such as the NLT or the Message, and to start with the Gospel of Matthew instead. So we went out and bought 2 new Message Bibles (I would very loosely call these a Bible since they are paraphrased versions of the Bible). Yes God can truly speak to anyone through any version of the Bible, or in any way He chooses to for that matter. I opened up that Message Bible and started reading Matthew, and I could not put it down. I had never really known much about Jesus – He was just that guy in the white robe with long hair. But now I began to see the beauty and love in Jesus and I fell madly in love with Him. I was amazed and in awe at Jesus – where had He been all my life!!

From there I grew a great passion to learn more about God’s Word. I wanted very much to know what God had to say to me and I saw the Bible as a great guidebook for life. I felt that it held the keys to every question I had every asked during my life, like what am I here for and why do I exist? Some of the Bible was very complicated and confusing for me, but some of it spoke to me in wonderful ways. Soon I was moving up to reading the NLT version and my Message Bible was gathering dust on it. I would recommend the Message for anyone who is very new to the Bible and has a hard time understanding it, because truly God can teach you His truth through it. It’s like training wheels, but that does not mean everyone needs to use training wheels before learning to ride!

So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith.

Galatians 3:24

The more I read of the Bible the more I began to be confused in some ways. It seemed that in the Old Testament God was mean and harsh but in the New Testament Jesus was loving and wonderful for the most part. I also read many of the letters from the Apostle Paul and felt that there were many rules to live by as a Christian. Rules on how to act and not act and how to dress, rules about sex, alcohol, money, and so much more. At that point the Holy Spirit had done a mighty work in me and I had done a complete 180 on how I was living my life – no more drugs, drinking, swearing, or watching horror on TV and that was just the start. So I felt pretty good about myself as I read the Bible as a list of rules to follow. If reading the Bible were like taking a test I would be getting a really good grade!

That just led me to start dissecting the lives and behaviors of everyone around me. If the Holy Spirit was convicting me to make changes, then surely He would be doing the same for all other Christians. As I looked around I just saw Christians living a life that seemed very contrary to the Bible though. It confused me and pained me at the same time. Why was I so convicted to make changes while the other Christians at my church were watching TV shows with horror, violence and sexual immorality? Didn’t they understand  they were going against God’s Word? So it became very easy for me to be judgmental towards my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. It was not that I wanted to judge people – I truly wanted to love them and be like Christ. I just couldn’t get past the rule bending going on everywhere around me.

I grew up in a very strict household. If I broke a rule I got a very harsh punishment, no matter how small the rule was. So I learned quickly to assimilate and follow the rules. It became quite important for survival you could even say. So when I began to see the Bible as a rule book for life it was very important for me to be sure to keep straight and follow them as best I could, lest God punish me for breaking them. I wanted very much to please God and do what was right in His eyes. What I didn’t understand was that unconditional love God gives to all of His children, no matter how far they stray from Him. He is the most amazing father that way.

For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

John 1:17

It went on this way for about two years, that is until I had my deliverance from demonic oppression this past summer. During my deliverance session I found out the many ways the devil had gotten rights and access to me during my life, and even before I was even born through previous generations. Through ancestral and generational curses the devil had been able to cause me many problems and pain during my life with demonic oppression. There are many types of demons and each has its own job. One of the demons that was oppressing me was a religious spirit. A religious spirit’s job is to keep people from having a close relationship with God, but instead seeing Christianity as a set of rules to follow. Here are some signs that you might have a religious spirit:

You judge others by their appearance, you try to earn God’s love and salvation, you always criticize other people’s walks with God, you desire position and honor in church over honor with God, you have an outward lifestyle of Christianity but inwardly have not changed, and you are involved in ministry but have no passion for God.

If you struggle with any of these problems, you most likely are suffering from demonic oppression at the hands of a religious spirit. Since I had my deliverance and am free from demonic oppression my walk with God and my understanding of the Bible has changed greatly. I no longer see the Bible as a set of rules, but am gaining a new freedom in my relationship with God. My deliverance partnered with inner healing to help with my past pain and trauma has allowed me to see God not as a task master and ruler setter, but as a loving Father who adores me and wants me to just be close to Him. God has not written the Bible to tell us how to act or how to be, but He has written the Bible as a testimony of His love for us.

For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.

Romans 8:14

freedomI believe wholeheartedly that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God, but I know that when man reads the Bible, it is his own interpretation that he is getting, unless he is led by the Holy Spirit when reading it. That is not to say that I did not have the Holy Spirit before my deliverance, but the demonic oppression was keeping me from full revelation of the Word of God as I read it. The devil would love nothing more than to keep God’s people down by having them believe the Bible is a set of rules that are impossible to follow and we are doomed to fail and displease God. That way we would not want to read the Bible and would not want to follow God. It is seeing the Bible as a set of rules that has caused many people to condemn non-believers and tell them they are going to hell, which only turns them away from God and straight into the arms of some other “religion” such as New Age and Witch Craft. It is seeing the Bible as a rule book that has caused many people to see it as outdated and not practical for this day and age, causing them to fall prey to the deceptions of the world that led us to sin and death.

It is recently as I was reading Galatians again that I came to a wonderful revelation of a life lived by the Spirit. When we live by the Spirit we produce the fruits of a spirit filled life, such as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, and self-control. Believe it or not I thought the fruits of the Spirit were more rules to be lived by! Now I see that I was constrained by trying to live life by the law, which left me to be enslaved to it! I was trying to be justified by works and by pleasing God, but it was impossible to do. I believe this is a common trap that many fall prey to, and I hope that if you see yourself in these words, that you would seek to get help to be free from this oppression.

 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.

Galatians 5:17

 

 

December 18 2014

Who Is Jesus

Who is Jesus? I did not grow up knowing who Jesus was. I vaguely remember seeing a picture of Him, a head shot. He was a white man with long hair, blue eyes, and a white robe. He looked friendly. But that meant nothing to me. Later Jesus was something that I disliked. I still had no idea who He was. He was just that guy who stood for Christianity and everything I hated about it. To me Christianity was oppressive, judgmental and controlling. Just like all religion. So Jesus became nothing more than a swear word to me.

I do think when I used His name as a swear word, which was often, there was a certain amount of guilt in it. Not enough to matter though, so I ignored it. After all, who is Jesus? A historical figure? A story or fairy tale? Probably just a man who was really good who touched people – like Abraham Lincoln. To be honest I didn’t give it much thought. It was more just that  knew what I knew what I knew. I didn’t need actual facts to back it up.

I think there are many people out there who feel the same way. They have come to feel that what they know is enough. They are happy with this knowledge, this worldview, and there is no room for anything more. Well maybe happy isn’t the right word, because inside they know there is something missing. Something big, something they can’t put into words, but it is so obviously lacking. And that is the place where I came to find the answer to the million dollar question: Who is Jesus?

Jesus is that something missing inside of you.

That is a pretty big statement to make, I realize. After all, this is coming from the woman who rejected Jesus her whole life previously, and who used His name as a swear word. Who is Jesus and how would I know? I could quote a lot of scripture from the Bible that gives overwhelming information about Jesus – His life, His works and miracles, His death and resurrection, and so much more. And I will, but I want to tell you something much more personal than that.who is Jesus

I have met Jesus, face to face, and you can too. Anyone can. I know that sounds pretty crazy. I guess by the standards of this world, it probably is crazy. But by the standards of God, Creator of the Universe and Creator of You, it is absolutely real. Jesus Christ came into my life at a time when I was broken, but searching for something more. I knew I had a big empty spot inside of me, that I could not fill. No matter what I did. Drugs, sex, relationships, friends, work, kids, a house, a car – whatever. None of that made me feel any better. At least not permanently. It was all just things that felt good for a moment, then that feeling faded away into nothingness.

Some days it was so easy to pretend I was happy. I had things that we are supposed to have in life. But on the inside I was alone, empty, dead. Part of me knew it, but wanted to deny it fiercely, but part of me knew it was real and was searching…always searching. I just didn’t know what I was searching for until I met Jesus.

When I came into the Christian church, it was a big step for me. I had so many questions about the Bible and Christianity, but most of all: who is Jesus? It took some time to truly understand the answer to this. It wasn’t like I started going to church and I knew Him. At first I was too overwhelmed to even get to the question of who is Jesus. Soon I realized that Jesus is the cornerstone to the Christian faith, and I had to know who He was. Because He was not just a swear word…who is Jesus?

I started by reading the Bible – they call it The Gospel. The Gospel are the first four books of the New Testament in the Bible. Each book has a different author who knew and walked with Jesus during His earthly life. They tell stories of His life, and how He lived it. It didn’t take long for me to see this amazing picture painted of the most incredible man, and I was falling in love with Him. He was radical, thought-provoking, honest, and so much more!

The Bible was a great start, but still I was left with: who is Jesus? Then I began a prayer life. I sat and prayed about problems I was having or things I needed, or whatever. I didn’t really have an encounter with Jesus at that point, but I didn’t know how to open up to Him. It was all so new and so scary. Then one day I was in a horrible place. I had struggled with depression for most of my life, and another wave of it had come over me. I didn’t know what to do, and couldn’t find the words to pray. I was sinking in my own despair and becoming lost inside of it.

I cried out to Jesus at that moment. And He answered me. I could feel His love coming over me, washing over me in waves of joy and comfort. It was a feeling I had never experienced before. It was as though He was right there, with His arms around me. I can’t say my depression just dissipated in that moment, because it didn’t. But something new came to me instead – hope. I had never had hope before in my life.

Jesus doesn’t always come and just wipe are pain away or take our problems from us. What He does do is comfort us and give us the strength we need in the moment to get through the hard times. He wipes away every tear and shows us that we are not alone – we are never alone. Who is Jesus? He is not a repair man or a figure of the past or a figment of my imagination. He is a comforter, healer, lover of my soul, counselor, friend and my King.

And yet He is even so much more than that. If you too are seeking answers to the question “who is Jesus?”, I invite you to continue reading as I explore this.

 

November 13 2014

Jesus Loves Me

It was all so surreal, going to that Christian church every Sunday. Yet I was open to it, and so were most of my kids. My husband was praying for God to reveal Himself to him, and so was my 12-year-old son. And God was answering them. I was kind of stumped myself, because I didn’t know how to pray. I mean, it made sense that we were supposed to communicate with God, but how exactly did the whole prayer thing work? Do I pray out loud or in my head? JesusDo I just talk to Him, or is there some sort of formula? So I tried praying for a sign, that if God was real that He would reveal Himself to me. I never did get a sign that way my husband and son did. I think deep down I knew better to ask God for a sign that He was real. He had been revealing Himself to me for years, I just was ignoring the fact it was Him.

So my prayer life began. I decided to just talk to Him. Out loud. It was the most comfortable way for me. It made me feel closer, and helped me to realize I was actually talking to someone, not just some idea in my head. I still did not understand really understand who Jesus was. I was only beginning to understand how very important He really was. I finally got my hands on a Message Bible and began to read Matthew, the fist book of the New Testament. It was then I began to see a picture of who Jesus was. I was amazed. Enthralled. I was falling head over heels in love.

I had no idea all of these years what i was missing out on by not knowing Jesus. I had been using His name as a swear word. It was meaningless to me. I had mocked Him and tore down everything I had heard about Him. And all that time He was just waiting, patiently for me. Holding out His hand to me, loving me and never condemning me.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” John 3:16-17

I felt so awful. Easter was soon approaching as I began to learn of Jesus. As I realized what He had gone through for me. Me. I am nothing, He is God. He was tortured, whipped, beaten and murdered and all for little, insignificant me. I did not deserve His grace or mercy, not one bit. I had lived my life in rebellion to God, hating him, doing drugs and so many other bad things. How could He ever love me. I am not good enough.

The Bible mini series came on the History channel. I watched as Jesus was beaten and murdered, in bold color, right before my eyes. It was so painful to watch. It hurt me so deeply, my heart ached so badly to see Him bleeding; dying. I became depressed. It was all too much to bear. Why? I just could not understand any of it. All I knew is that I loved Him. So much. And I did not want Him to hurt, to suffer, to go through all that for the sins of the world. I understood it was supposed to happen, it was a part of God’s plan, but it made no sense to me at all.

And it wasn’t just why did he have to suffer, but why did I have to live my whole life up until now without Him? If I had Jesus in my life before, maybe I would not have gone through so much pain, depression, drug use, misery. I would have had Him to go to when things were hard. Because where there is Jesus there is hope. Before I had no hope. Never. Now my life was beginning to be filled with hope in a new and beautiful way.

In the depths of my heart I heard Him speak to me. To tell me that He knew how hard my life had been, that He had been there all along. That He had never wanted me to suffer, but that it was OK, because He was going to use it some day to help others. And I smiled, because I believed Him. He loves me. And that is why He was willing to suffer for me. And that is why I was able to move forward, away from my past, and into my future. A future filled with healing, and love, and light.

“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.  No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39

 

Category: Into The Light, Living In Darkness, Who Is Jesus? | Comments Off on Jesus Loves Me